5 easy steps to a healthy family
A healthy, happy family is the top of everyone’s wishlist. However busy lives can often leave us feeling like we are dropping the ball. There is no need to feel guilty; we can’t all be on top of everything, all of the time! Here are 5 easy steps, you can take to give you confidence that you’re family is staying healthy and happy.
1. A plant-rich diet
You’ve probably heard the term ‘plant-based diet’ used a lot if you do any kind of reading around nutrition. What does it mean exactly? It’s the term used to describe a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds and legumes/pulses - and it doesn’t mean that you have to go completely meat free! It simply means thinking about adding more plant-based foods to your family’s meals. Ideally, when considering meals, remember that at least half the plate should be covered with colourful vegetables (minimum two servings) at both lunch and dinner time. Plant-based foods provide plenty of vitamins, minerals and healthy fats required for a well-balanced diet that will keep your family well, healthy and happy.
2. Increase family time
Make it a focus to add more family time to your routines. This doesn’t have to mean outings or special activities, it could just mean connecting around daily tasks such as eating meals together, turning off the TV in the evenings and playing games or chatting, or even exercising together. Having a Springfree trampoline in your backyard is a great way for the entire family to have fun, get some exercise and create some games to have some friendly family competition!
3. Reduce screen time
Kids addicted to their tablets? Well here is an app that you’ll be happy to get them hooked on. The tgoma app turns your Springfree trampoline into a Smart Trampoline! Sensors on the mat connect via Bluetooth to your tablet, where you can connect with interactive games and exercises. They’ve been specifically designed to engage your kids’ attention and will have them learning and developing while they’re having fun outside.
4. Cut down on sugar
Sugar gets a bad rap; it’s not that sugar is entirely bad all the time, it’s that most of us have too much of it, and there is certainly a link between our expanding waistlines and the amount of sugary food we eat. There are many foods in which sugars are found naturally - like milk, whole fruit and veges. These sugars are OK - they don’t rot our teeth, and they tend to come alongside a whole bunch of other wholesome nutrients. The ‘free sugars’ are the ones that you need to be watchful of. These are all added sugars, and any sugars that are found in a syrup or extract, such as fruit juice, honey, maple syrup, molasses, treacle, rice syrup, golden syrup or agave nectar - so there could be more sugar hiding in your kids’ meals that you realised. It’s important to not just look at the nutrition information panels on packaged food, but also at the ingredients list so you can spot if any of these free sugars are included.
Sugary drinks are particularly problematic. Remember that 4g of sugar is one teaspoon - and you’d be surprised at how much sugar is sitting in some drinks if you check out the labels. As adults, we need to limit free sugars to 6 tsp a day, for kids, it’s less.
5. Create a sleep sanctuary
A healthy environment for sleep and a predictable routine around bedtime are important. A good night’s sleep is critical to help your children develop, grow and concentrate throughout the day so they can learn and stay focused. Maintain a consistent sleep schedule with a regular bedtime and wake up time. Exercise, particularly outdoors in natural light, is important, however it’s important to have up to one hour of quiet time before bed. This is a good time to enjoy activities like a quiet bath, reading, or listening to music. Your children’s bedroom should be quiet, a comfortable temperature and dark (use a nightlight if needed). Keep screens out of the bedroom, but ensure that the bedroom is associated with positive feelings (not negative ones, like a place where they are sent for punishment).
Cover off these basics and you can be confident that you’re providing your family with a healthy, happy environment for them to grow and flourish!
By Registered Nutritionist, Claire Turnbull